When you’ve lost your way……What Now?

Showing you the way


by Kenneth Justice

~Last week I received four different phone calls from clients……not my clients; the clients of a relative of mine.

Apparently, my relative is no longer answering their business phone…3 of the clients have been calling for as much as 3 months, leaving messages…and they can’t get any response. 

They told me they are taking their business elsewhere. 

I don’t blame them.

I probably wouldn’t have stuck in there for 3 months! After a couple days of no response I would have bailed and found a new company to deal with; a company that answers the phone!

In another lifetime I used to work at this particular company and although I’m no longer connected to the company; I had 15 + years of client-customer relationships with these people and because its my relative who owns the company; the client’s felt the need to call me and let me know they were bailing.

Clearly something is going on with my relative; I don’t know what, I could speculate…..but it doesn’t really matter; clearly this relative of mine has lost their way in life and their company is quickly fading.

Obviously I’m leaving out a few details to save my relative any embarrassment; suffice to say…..my relative has lost their way in life….they’ve lost direction…..

Losing our way in life isn’t merely limited to the business world….I think we all know this; when we lose our direction it can cause us to feel like we are spinning in a million directions; as though we are a ship with no captain.

When we are contemplating a big move; from one city to another…from one state to another…or even to a new country; we may be feeling a little lost…or a little scared…. apprehensiveness is normal.

As humans…we like it when everything is in a box; we can hold a box, we can peer in it to see it’s contents…..a box of something doesn’t scare us…..

but life is not a box…..

Life has many twists and turns; the direction we take after high school and college can end up leading somewhere altogether and different.

Sometimes life heads in a direction we like….sometimes it does not.

How will we deal with disappointment?

How will we deal with success? What if we are successful at something we don’t enjoy?

Many times when the subject of life course is discussed it is done so in the parameters of young people; what college degree will you pursue  or what career in life do you want?

But what about people who are retiring? Where is their life course taking them? People over the age of 60 can sometimes feel just as lost as an 18 year old has just graduated high school, asking themselves; what now?

Some of us had parents who drilled it into our heads, “THIS is what you will do, no questions, JUST DO IT!”…….

So….we did it….and now years later we are miserable…we’ve lost direction.

Others had parents who were laid back, “Hey, just do what you enjoy…do what you love”…..

But, doing what we love hasn’t filled up our savings account, perhaps it has taken us away from friends, perhaps it has left us wondering…..what now?

Perhaps we are newly divorced, or maybe our spouse just died…..we’re left sitting in our living room asking ourselves….what now?

Conversation is one key…..talking with others….bouncing ideas off each other…..positive communication can help us begin steering the ship back on course.

Isolation doesn’t usually help. Sure there are times we need to meditate; to be alone, by ourselves, and think through things…..but if we isolate ourselves for too long…..we can find ourselves so lost we don’t even realize it…..

As with so many subjects in life I have more observations than answers….but of one thing I’m sure;

When I look around at the people who walk by…I see a lot of people who aren’t sure where they are going; many of them did what they were told and then they woke up one day and found themselves asking, what now?

For me, I’m going to have another cup of coffee…..after that…we’ll see what happens….





Categories: Culture & Society

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24 replies

  1. This could be thin ice territory for you and your family relation – scary stuff. I hope things work out.

    • John,

      since my departure from hardcore fundamentalist evangelicalism it has been ‘thin ice’ territory for a long time between my relatives and I ….my website here has been in many ways my ‘public’ coming out 🙂

  2. As I am now dreaming up business ideas like young studs talking dirty to carpooling moms (which I blogged about this morning on runningawayfrom49.wordpress.com I would say lost about sums it up! Lost in your 20s sounds intriguing, lost in my forties does not! Great read.

    • runningaway,

      good analogy…..as we get older we look at people in their twenties and as you say, we think, “lost in your 20’s sounds intriguing”….but I think the problem is that we go from our 20’s to our 40’s rather quickly

  3. This post is very edifying, especially for a sixty-six year old who can’t afford to retire. As always, I come away from your writing with encouragement for the future. It may not come in a box, but if I live in the moment, hopefully I can deal with the unexpected whether it is good or bad.


    • Dcardiff,

      I just sat with a client last week who is turning 63 this month; if he retires and takes his social security it won’t be enough for him to live on…..but by not retiring he can’t touch one dollar of that social security money……there is something wrong when people spend their whole lives putting money into this retirement fund and then they get into their sixties and as you say, they “can’t afford to retire”.

  4. you have no idea how much i can relate to the isolation part of being lost – the job and location of the job have really isolated me and asking “what now” happens more often than i’d like. it’s like you know my life and you’re constantly writing about it lol; i suppose that’s part of why i like your writings so much – it makes me feel less isolated and knowing that in your observations, others feel similarly – there’s that slight connection; i feel less like im trying to figure this thing out totally by myself; just enough of one to give me a “lifeline” so to speak. thanks! happy coffee drinking. 🙂

    • Jen,

      its beyond annoying that our way of life here in the U.S. often means we have to sacrifice/choose between community/connection and our careers/life goals…..the two things shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but because of the way our culture is set up; so often they are

  5. Good post -maybe send it to your lost relative. At least they’ll know you get it.

  6. i can totally relate to that, the world is much harsher now, no room for mistakes for sme (small medium enterprise)

  7. I’ve been “lost” my whole life. I can not remember a time where I felt I was right where I wanted to be.

    I don’t want to work anymore. It’s taking away from moments in my life and it stresses me out. But I have to because eating is not an option. But until that changes, I will forever be lost.

    • Claudia,

      my heart goes out to you….having worked in variety of human service fields I know that you are not the only one who feels this way……

      While there are so many things we have to be thankful for here in the U.S.,……there is something to say about the American way of life that leads to what you are describing….

  8. I’m chuckling to myself after reading this one. Your line “As with so many subjects in life I have more observations than answers” sums me up perfectly. But I think most people in America ARE walking around wondering “What now?” Good piece, I really enjoyed it 😉

  9. My whole world fell apart in 1995. Sometimes we grasp at passing twigs that will not break our fall. I know I did. Sometimes we uproot others, looking for someone to save us.

    Once believed that I could order life completely to my tastes, but found out I held very little voting stock on that score.

    Now, like some repentant terrorist, I’ve dropped most of my demands – and what a difference that has made!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

    • yeoldfoole,

      hopefully things have been on the upswing for you since 95′

    • nadir was attained 2003, and although live is never linear, I would say I’ve never been happier in all my life than now!

  10. I agree lost in mid-life has more repercussions than when you have less responsibilities. I spent 3 years drifting aimlessly (just getting through the day) after my youngest child died. I’m better now. From personal experience, I’d say sometimes nothing other than time can help. My family and good friends were waiting for me when I wanted to engage in life again. Hopefully your relative will find the same.

  11. Great post…
    I spent the first 60 years of my life wondering what I would be when I grow up. During those years, I married and had 5 kids, divorced and raised 5 boys through their teenage years as a single parent, I was a high school teacher, a newspaper columnist, a bank teller, a house cleaner, to name a few of my numerous occupations..What I did to earn money changed as circumstances dictated. I re-married at the age of 56…the same year I began taking care of my elderly parents.Always, in my mind, I would find my grown up self after I finished doing whatever it was that I “had to do because….”
    This never bothered me until I turned 60 and then I got this panicky feeling that maybe by the time I got around to figuring out what I wanted to be when I grow up, it would be too late! I did feel lost! But feeling lost sort of lit a fire under me.
    I just turned 65 and I am still taking care of my mom (she’ll be 98 in July), but I am no longer waiting to do what I want. I wrote my first novel and actually got a publisher. I loved writing it, and I know that I will continue writing fiction. Hopefully, somebody out there will want to read them!
    I guess most people go through the “lost and found” cycle at some point. I feel blessed that I found myself in time to do find what I wanted to do…and do it!

  12. I love you posts. They are very encouraging and uplifting. I have noticed that I gain a lot of wisdom from the things you share with others. Also, affirmations that I’m not alone. There’s a lot of hurting people out there and I love to read your responses. Awesome shares!

  13. What you wrote you and other recent posts and what I’ve written on my thoughts on my blog recently are singing the same tunes. Good writing. I’m intrigued. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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